Dr. Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), was announced today as the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate. Through his roles over the past two decades with the Rockefeller Foundation, at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and as Minister of Agriculture of Nigeria, Dr. Adesina has been at the forefront of galvanizing political will to transform African agriculture through initiatives to: expand agricultural production, thwart corruption in the Nigerian fertilizer industry and exponentially increase the availability of credit for smallholder farmers across the African continent.
“As someone who grew out of poverty, I know that poverty is not pretty,” said Dr. Adesina. “My life mission is to lift up millions of people out of poverty, especially farmers in rural areas of Africa. We must give hope and turn agriculture into a business all across Africa to create wealth for African economies. The World Food Prize gives me an even greater global platform to make that future happen much faster for Africa.”
Drawn to action in terms of policy reform, financial innovation and enhanced agricultural production, Dr. Adesina organized the 2006 Africa Fertilizer Summit, and as part of the Rockefeller Foundation; led a major expansion of commercial bank lending to farmers as Vice President of the nascent Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA); and as Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria, introduced the E-Wallet system which broke the back of corrupt elements that had controlled the fertilizer distribution system for 40 years, earning him the reputation as the “farmer’s Minister.” His reforms over five years led to dramatic increases in Nigerian food production and farm incomes.
Now as the first person with an agricultural background ever to lead a regional development bank, AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina has become an African Child Nutrition Evangelist, telling everyone who will listen, as well as those who won’t, that for Africa to succeed in the 21st century it must promote and enhance the nutritional, educational and economic opportunities available to the next generation.
A Bold Visionary and Leader for Africa
Dr. Adesina has been heralded as “Africa’s Norman Borlaug,” and for the past 25 years has passionately spearheaded major policies of comprehensive support for millions of farmers across the continent, including access to financing and credit, access to agricultural technologies such as improved seeds and fertilizers and investment in agriculture from both the public and private sectors.
Learn more about Dr. Adesina here.